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‘Unpredictable’ Pakistan eager to rise on big stage

The 1992 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand was famous for its firsts. It was the first time that teams sported coloured outfits along with the black back screen being introduced. It was also the first, where several matches were played under floodlights and South Africa was re-introduced to this major cricketing tournament after apartheid. But most importantly, it was the first time that Pakistan lifted the World Cup under the leadership of Imran Khan.

Pakistan finished fourth in the Round Robin stage, which was also among the first as it replaced the two group stage format. Out of eight matches, the Men in Green won four, lost three and tied one, gathering nine points and it was enough to see them through to the semifinals.

Even though India did not make the final-four cut, Pakistan had ended up on the losing side in its Round Robin encounter with their archrivals. Chasing 216 posted by India, Pakistan crumbled to just 173. Aamer Sohail was the highest scorer for Pakistan with his 60, but India bowled superbly to pick wickets at regular intervals. Kapil Dev, Manoj Prabhakar and Javagal Srinath picked 2 wickets each.

In the semifinals, Pakistan met New Zealand in their own backyard at Auckland. The Kiwis looked favourites and they put on 262 for Pakistan to chase. Martin Crowe’s 91 and Ken Rutherford’s 50 was celebrated among the New Zealand crowd; the Pakistan bowling failed to dent the Kiwi batting and it was up to the batters donning green to fight the task ahead.

Pakistan successfully chased down the target losing only 6 wickets as almost all the top order batsmen came good in crucial moments. It was Javed Miandad’s 57 and Inzamam Ul Haq’s 60 that proved to be the backbone of the chase. New Zealand were left red faced as Pakistan crossed the line in the 49th over. Willie Watson was the only Kiwi bowler who managed to take
2 wickets.

In the other semis disrupted by rain, England contained South Africa who were chasing 252. The Proteas were able to score only 232 and lost by 20 runs as the number of overs was reduced. It was a shocking exit for South Africa who had returned to the World Cup after a long hiatus.

Meeting England in the final, which was also England’s second final appearance, Pakistan put on a performance to remember. The contribution by bowlers and batsmen led the team to a dream win that has been remembered by Pakistanis till today and Imran Khan was titled a legend.

Elected to bat first, Pakistan lost two quick wickets and it was up to Imran Khan and Javed Miandad to solidify their innings. And that’s what they did. Imran went on to score 72 along with Miandad making 58 that helped their team post a total of 249/6. Wasim Akram shined with the bat putting in a handsome 33 along with Inzamam ul Haq at the closing stages of the match.

As England began their chase, Wasim Akram, Aaqib Javed and Mustaq Ahmed ran through the English batting line up and bowled them out for 227.

March 25, 1992 went down in Pakistan history as one of the greatest day in Pakistan


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